QCOSTARICA – Fuel prices in Costa Rica has very high, close to the historical record from seven years ago, when Costa Ricans paid ¢816 per liter of super gasoline, according to data from the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (Recope), Costa Rica’s refinery which refines nothing.
Today Super gasoline is at ¢749 and Plus 21 (regular) at ¢725 per liter.
Using today’s reference exchange rate set by the Central Bank and converting liters to US gallons, Costa Ricans are paying US$4.69 for super and US$4.54 for regular.
We have asked different experts on the subject of the automotive industry about this affectation and possible solutions.
José Andrés Montalto, general manager of Renault in Costa Rica gave us his point of view.
“The opening of the market (competition) is logically the solution that would bring the cost of fuel down, hand in hand with the elimination of a lot of taxes that fuel has,” said Montalto, who assures that he sees this solution becoming a reality.
And it is precisely that the Recope has a monopoly on the importation and commercialization of crude oil derivatives in the country.
Currently, the item that carries the greatest weight on prices is the international cost of crude oil, making up 44% of the total, in addition to tax on fuels that ranges between 29% and 36%, and the 7% operating costs of Recope, according to representatives of the state agency.
Varying the tax and operating costs could alleviate the pocketbooks of drivers.
Mixing ethanol in fuels to further reduce costs has been discussed over the last couple of years. In fact, Recope introduced, for a brief period, a mix of ethanol that was quickly withdrawn from the market to the “whenever” drawer.
“It is not recommended in the vehicle fleet that exists in Costa Rica. In South America, there are several countries with these mixtures but the cars are adapted for this. The injection system and other parameters change, therefore I do not see it as a good optio,” concluded Montalto.